Aldermen scheduled to vote tonight on Bistro Basque outdoor patio

The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to vote tonight on leasing city property downtown to the owner of Bistro Basque to use as an outdoor patio.

Last month the Milford aldermen tabled a vote on the new outdoor patio because they said they couldn’t visualize what the patio would look like and were concerned it might be too big.

David Fernandez, the owner of Bistro Basque at 13 River St. and El Barrio Latin Bar & Kitchen at 17 River St., hopes to become the third downtown restaurant owner to have a patio on city-owned land at 25-27 River St., where there is already an outdoor patio that serves Café Atlantique and one that serves Eli’s Tavern.

The city owns the small green area on River Street and leases part of it to Café Atlantique and Eli’s: The Café Atlantique patio is actually a public patio on city land, while Eli’s is a private patio on city land. Fernandez is seeking approval for a private patio on city land, similar to Eli’s arrangement. The lease conditions would be the same, city officials said: Eli’s pays $2,500 a year for the lease, smoking is not allowed, it must close by 10 p.m. and there can be no live music there.

The Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously at its Oct. 17 meeting to recommend that the Board of Aldermen approve a five-year lease with Fernandez, and while most of the aldermen last month said they liked the idea of another restaurant patio there and thought Fernandez has done a great job with his downtown businesses, they had too many questions to give the OK at that time.

The patio would be adjacent to the one for Eli’s Tavern and would be accessed from the existing rear patio for Bistro Basque.

Mayor Ben Blake said Fernandez got the surrounding businesses to approve his plan before approaching the city to ask permission, and that’s why the request is moving more quickly than did Eli’s, which took more than a year.

The proposed patio is not a square or rectangle but rather a more elaborate shape because of the grading and the desire to avoid cutting mature trees on the property. The proposed patio “zig zags” around the trees, Blake said.

Tonight’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at Milford City Hall.